Autodesk to Buy Construction Startup PlanGrid for $875 Million

Autodesk, a maker of design and architecture software, is going big on construction technology by announcing plans to buy startup PlanGrid for $875 million.

The deal, announced Tuesday, is Autodesk’s biggest acquisition ever. The deal also marks the first major acquisition for Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost, who took over the design software firm 16 months ago.

PlanGrid specializes in productivity software that lets construction workers manage and collaborate on digital blueprints at construction sites. The company has raised about $69 million from firms including Sequoia Capital, Northgate Capital, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and individual investors like Ron Conway and David Sacks.

The startup’s software has been used in several big construction projects involving the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, the headquarters of graphics chipmaker Nvidia, and Highway 99 in California’s Central Valley.

PlanGrid’s staff of 400 employees will join Autodesk’s construction business unit.

Anagnost told Fortune earlier this month that Autodesk planned a major push into construction technology, which the CEO believes is the next logical step from the company’s core software that helps organizations design and conceptualize products.

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“We want to bring manufacturing methods to construction,” Anagnost said at the time. “We see the construction market starting to move in the same direction as airplanes and cars moved years ago. You’re going to make a building the same way you make an airplane.”

Autodesk shares rose 6.9% in after-hours trading to $131.48, signaling Wall Street enthusiasm for the deal as well as the company’s latest earnings, which were also reported on Tuesday. Autodesk said its sales for the quarter ending Oct. 31 jumped 28% year-over-year to $661 million.


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